I’ve always been an active person. I have always worked in a physical job. I have worked as a general labourer for a building supplier, as a labourer for a water bottle factory, as a fire fighter for the ministry of natural resources, and as an entrepreneurial painter. I used to do many physical activities including riding bikes, hiking, playing sports, weight lifting, swimming, and much more. My back injuries have been a result of chronic misuse. I have always worked hard and played hard, and I always took my physical well-being for granted. Then, about eight years ago I injured myself while working for myself and I was unable to fully recover from it. I could not go a single moment without pain, and the unrelenting back spasms (as most of you know) were debilitating, depressing, and exhausting. I like so many others, placed my faith in the abilities of my health care professionals.
Despite their best efforts, my doctors couldn’t (and still can’t) explain to me exactly why the pain is occurring and what’s causing the inflammation in the muscles. The recommendation I got from my family doctor years ago was to return to school at the age of 30 and start a new career in hopes that I will get a desk job that helps my back recover. Despite having a job, a family, and normal financial obligations, my wife and I decided it was the best course of action. At that time, my treatment options for pain management were limited. I was going to a chiropractor for adjustments. I got orthotics in my shoes. I went for weekly massage therapies, and I was taking anti-inflammatories and pain killers to the highest dosages. However I had no other options available at that time, or so I thought. Finally, two years ago my family doctor retired and I was issued a new doctor who took me off the pain killers (thankfully) and got me into a chronic pain clinic. I have attended this clinic for two years and I am still waiting for them to “cure” me.Their words, not mine. I have had some success with injections but it is always fleeting and only seemed to work for a little while. Last year (Christmas of 2015) I was in my third year of a psychology degree program and I was unable to do any of the things I used to. I was unable to afford fun activities, unable to physically do anything with my children or my wife. It didn’t help that I always had a fear of hurting myself further. Every SINGLE decision from the largest to the smallest had to be weighted as being worth the risk of back spasms or time off work. I would have to seriously debate things like picking up my daughter, bending to pick up a fallen item, or going anywhere that was outside of my treatment radius. I was unwilling to go on vacations or on road trips. I was eventually unwilling to do anything and everything except lay still and eat crap. Slowly, I had fallen into a learned helplessness. A sense of limbo in which I was waiting for a rescue. The depression really hits home when you wake up and realize everything you’ve tried and everyone you’ve turned to has been unsuccessful. I looked around and saw that my pain had taken over my life in every way.
Then I hit my limit with everything. I was angry and frustrated and did not want to go to any more physiotherapy, or chiropractic appointments, or injections that caused my back to spasm. I heard about DDP yoga through facebook. I am not sure why I looked at it, but I did and I saw this fellow who could not walk. He was crippled and using walking sticks, and was written off as a lost cause to many of the health professionals. His story peeked my interest and I had to investigate. I must be honest. I am an 80’s kid. I grew up watching the WWF. I remember the fights I would get into with friends and my brothers debating over if WWF was “real” or not. I remember Diamond Dallas Page! Anyways, my first impression was that this DDP yoga was a fad that employed an energetic and enthusiastic celebrity host to add credibility to a program that likely doesn’t follow through. Regardless, my intrigue was maintained the more I read about the various people who had successes. DDP seems to really understand how chronic pain can amp up a bunch of turmoil in one’s life, and how it can be a hard road that requires an enormous amount of patience, understanding, and support from people around me and people with chronic pain. I decided at that point, it might be something worth trying. After all, I had no success with my reputable health team. With skepticism, I bought the pack with everything in it. DVDS, manuals, and plans. I got it, I read the book and I put the DVD in and I played it once. Then it collected dust for a few weeks. During that time however I began to heed the advice about food. I stopped drinking alcohol completely and I refused to eat anything that was packaged. I stayed to the outside of the grocery store and went with as much healthy food items as possible. I began to see my weight drop a little bit, and began to feel motivated again to try the yoga DVD. In mid to late February 2016, and I started with the wake up routine and found that I could do most of it. It was good for helping me remain flexible and I noticed that my back was less twitchy. I found that even though it was a morning routine, I was doing this routine any chance I got. It only takes a few minutes, and it does not register as a work out for me. But it did help as a reset button. A good stretch helped my back and my attitude. It gave me a feeling of progression and accomplishment so that I could go on with my day. I still have pain despite my weight loss. But I have a long way to go still. I don’t really have a weight goal. My doctor said I’m in the range of being healthy. I used to weigh 180 pounds when I was 24. I don’t think I’d ever get back to that, but I would like to be able to look in the mirror and see a flat stomach. I’m surprised at how much progress I have already made and I really have not been able to focus on my core yet. My goal is simple. I’m not interested in eliminating the pain anymore. I have come to terms with the fact it may be a life sentence. My goal is to be able to look pain the face and tell it that it has no power over me. I will still be fit, I will still function, and I will still succeed in my dreams.
I began my journey at 280 pounds. Today I weigh 212 pounds. I fit clothes that my wife stored away since 2007. They smell a bit musty lol, but the nostalgia helps keep my motivation up! My biggest point in all this though, is that DDP hasn’t just helped me eat right or move more. It’s helped me redefine my version of success and understand that I can bring my pain along with me in life without giving it power to imprison me in my home or in my heart